22 June 2017

CWGC launches new community project

The CWGC will be launching a new and exciting project at Armed Forces Day in Plymouth on Saturday 24 June, in the Veterans Tent from 10am.


‘For those in Peril’ is a special initiative to encourage the people of Plymouth and beyond to research those who are named on the CWGC Plymouth Naval Memorial and share their findings with the rest of the country. CWGC staff will be on hand at this annual event to tell more about the project and Commission as a whole.

The CWGC Plymouth Naval Memorial was unveiled by HRH Prince George on 29 July 1924, and became a place of remembrance for more than 23,000 naval personnel who lost their lives during both World Wars and have ‘no known grave but the sea’.

There are 7,251 names of sailors from the First World War and 15,933 names from the Second World War on the monument.

For those interested in finding out more about the people commemorated, a free resource pack can be requested, detailing the history of the memorial, with helpful tips on how to research and share findings.

To register to take part and receive your resource pack, email community@cwgc.org.

Jennie Sweeney, Head of Community Engagement for the CWGC, said: “This is a really exciting opportunity for those in Plymouth to find out more about the beautiful CWGC Plymouth Naval Memorial, and work with us to discover and share the stories of the individuals it commemorates, from across the UK and from across the world.

“We encourage community groups and individuals to help us research those who lost their lives at sea during WWI and start to get a sense of the person behind the name on the memorial.

“I’d encourage anyone interested to come along to the Armed Forces Day and speak to us about the free resource pack and how your school, community organisation or family can too take part.”

After the First World War, an appropriate way had to be found of commemorating Royal Navy personnel who had no known grave, as the majority of deaths occurred at sea where no permanent memorial could be provided.

An Admiralty committee recommended that the three manning ports in Great Britain at the time - Chatham, Plymouth and Portsmouth - should each have an identical memorial of unmistakable naval form, an obelisk, which would serve as a leading mark for shipping.

The memorials were designed by Sir Robert Lorimer, who had already carried out a considerable amount of work for the Commission, with sculpture by Henry Poole.

After the Second World War, it was decided the CWGC naval memorials should be extended to provide space for commemorating the naval dead, but since the three sites were dissimilar, a different architectural treatment was required for each.

The architect for the Second World War extension at Plymouth was Sir Edward Maufe (who also designed the Air Forces memorial at Runnymede in Surrey) and the additional sculpture was by Charles Wheeler and William McMillan.

The Extension was unveiled by HRH Princess Margaret on 20 May 1954.

A further unveiling took place on 11 November 1956, when panels honouring those who died on shore, but who had no known grave, were unveiled by Admiral Sir Mark Pizey.

In addition to commemorating seamen of the Royal Navy who sailed from Plymouth, the First World War panels also bear the names of sailors from Australia and South Africa.

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